In his search to reinvigorate the sounds of electric guitar and acoustic ambience, Duncan Marquiss has honed his craft on the guitar, creating a unique solo blend of ambient scoring and experimental electronics. His first solo release, Wires Turned Sideways In Time, is a dizzying, expansive album of atmospheric guitar excursions that strikes a perfect balance between beautiful melodic exploration and experimental texture-led studio wizardry.
Chockablock with ideas — phantoms of American folk, Krautrock electronics and various shades of neo-psych by way of 70s electric jazz — Marquiss has crafted an epic tome for lost days and sunken nights. The effect can be bewildering; this is not background music you can be half-listening to while making tea. It demands more rigorous and focused attention — not least because you might miss some fey beauty or haunting melody if you let it slip past your ears.
From its opening refrain, Wires Turned Sideways In Time takes the listener through a range of emotions, from pleasantly minimal notes to far away drone-like sounds. Standout tracks include “Fixed Action Patterns,” a meditative number accentuated by lush, polyrhythmic acoustic melodies that swell as the track develops; and “Tracks,” which features some exceptional fingerpicking accoustic guitar work alongside swirling ambient textures that linger just underneath.
The real star here is Marquiss’ guitar playing: amazingly colorful, inventive and personal in its detail, every note feels like it’s been thoughtfully placed. You don’t just listen to this album, you get lost in it. Wires Turned Sideways In Time feels sharply focused and purposefully minimal, even when the songs drift into expansive, exploratory territory. Marquiss leaves no stone unturned in his quest to create a new sound world, which makes him quite the formidable guitarist, producer and sound-shaper.
This is an album with great personality, providing a fascinating and often subtle mix of influences. It can be lolling and beautiful one moment, before squealing into disconcerting noise the next. All of this makes for compelling listening. As modern yet infinitely ancient as it gets, this is one of those albums that will never leave your turntable.